Here Beginneth The Lesson: 7 Things I've Learned About Life, Love and Boardgames
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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I recently stumbled across a time machine. By extraordinary luck, in transported me all the way back to 2008, when I was just getting into this hobby.

By another extraordinary stroke of luck, I ran into myself. Here's what I told 2008 me.
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1. Board Game: Timeline: Discoveries [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1070] [Average Rating:6.76 Unranked]
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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Welcome to this awesome hobby - descend into the abyss...

Hi 2008 me. I know this is a bit of a shock, me being here and all, but I'm here to offer you some advice on your brand-spanking new hobby. First off, it's going to BLOW YOUR FREAKING MIND. The variety and depth of modern boardgames is something you can barely conceive of and it's going to get so much better in the next few years. I kind of envy you, living through all this again.

However, I do have some advice...
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2. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:209]
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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You don't need to get and play everything!

Oh man, if there was one piece of advice I could give my younger self, it would be this. Feeling bad because you've never owned or played some of the top 100 is useless. Indulging in it will get you a lot of unopened boxes and bankruptcy. There's no threshold for being a 'proper' boardgamer either, so don't feel like you don't measure up because you've never played Puerto Rico. There's no game out there that you 'ought' to get - just games you want to get.

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3. Board Game: Relic [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1103]
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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Don't get expansionitis - more isn't necessarily better!

Another lesson I'm learning the hard way. 'Bigger' doesn't necessarily mean 'better'. It doesn't necessarily mean 'not better' either, but trying to improve a game you're ambivalent about through expansions is throwing good money after bad.

I'll give you two examples from my own experience. Forsaken Lore fixed one of the major problems I had with the base set - a lack of variance in some of the draw decks. In this case, bigger was better because it provided greater variety - but if someone didn't care for Eldritch Horror, Forsaken Lore won't change many hearts and minds. With Relic, a game I frankly don't care for, a friend said I should try it again with the expansion. All it did was add more 'stuff' to the game without changing my fundamental problem - its a roll-and-move luck fest.

In both of these cases more 'stuff' was added without changing the core dynamic. Throwing money at expansions just to try and improve a mediocre experience is dumb. Buy a different game.
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4. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:126] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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Gateway Games are sort of mythical

This is bordering on heresy, but having the recommended crop of gateways bounce off a group of family and friends is...not a good experience.

I have had much better luck by engaging with themes that grab players imaginations. My wife is a massive Sherlock Holmes fan, so Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective went across much better than Pandemic. Likewise, my Dad is really into Memoir '44 but finds Love Letter frustrating.

It would be brilliant if I could find one universal panacea game that people love unconditionally, but people have different tastes and interests. I am much better off exploring those interests in board game form than looking for a generic gateway.
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5. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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Don't be afraid to embrace your tastes - and sometimes a classic won't 'click'

With a top 100 list and reviews coming out of your ears, it can seem sometimes like there is a certain amount of pressure to conform to a consensus. Don't!

I love 221b Baker Street and Cluedo, which are...not necessarily well regarded on the Geek. It's more to do with fun with my family and wife than the games themselves, but that doesn't make it any less valid.

On the other hand, I've already talked about Relic, a fairly well-regarded game I am not fond of. Another is Carcassonne, a game I have played a few times and not gotten on with. Just because everyone else likes it doesn't mean you should feel that you should.

And don't be ashamed of it either, you big dope.
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6. Board Game: Positive Negative [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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I've been kind of negative so far...

...but don't be discouraged. Even taking all of this into account you have, vast, vast scope for your hobby and its future. However this does bring me to my last point...
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7. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:78]
Andrew Ashdown
Canada
Windsor
Nova Scotia
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Feel free to ignore any of the advice on this list regularly

Listen man, I know you. At some point you will go out and buy Descent and all of the expansions in one go. This is not sensible. But it's our hobby, and sometimes we can be as unsensible as we like. This is not a blank cheque to go bankrupt (you have a wife in 2015 and she will END you) but this hobby really isn't about rules.

It's about finding the awesome in the ridiculous.
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8. Board Game: Spin [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Tom Flatt
Canada
Whitecourt
Alberta
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Might I humbly add an eighth;

Beware the hype

As the hobby has grown so, too, has the amount of hype associated with it. I truly believe that those new to the hobby need to realize that the "Latest Greatest" is not the same as the "Best". Many of the best games are older "classics" that are inexpensive, easy to find, and a joy to play! Research, read reviews, and remember that quality knows no age.
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9. Board Game: Collect [Average Rating:5.15 Unranked]
Mi Myma
United States
Fountain Valley
California
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Why is there no Word Games Forum or Subdomain?
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There should be a Word Games Subdomain, or at least a Word Games Forum!
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Decide whether you are a game player or a game collector.

Yes, you can be both if you want, but it's important to remember that these are two very different goals.
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10. Board Game: First Impressions [Average Rating:5.33 Unranked]
Christina Crouch
United Kingdom
Tadley
Hampshire
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Lots of games are worth a second chance.

Some games need more than one 'first play'. Don't be disheartened if the first game goes badly - give the game another chance. Sometimes it was just the wrong crowd, the wrong evening, or a small mistake in rules.
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11. Board Game: The Games People Play Game [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Andrew W.
United States
Monessen
Pennsylvania
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Taoist, Pittsburgh Sports fan, and welcoming to people who are kind, from any walk of life.
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I have been playing games since the Atari 2600, Candy Land, Chuttes and Ladders, Go Fish, & the Apple ii. Supporting "the Geek" since 2006
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As often as possible, Play the game before deciding if you wish to purchase the game. Also, as often as possible, play it with the people with whom you would play the game the most.

The Games at my house live on two Ikea bookshelf units. Roughly 1/4 of them, or $200 worth of the games on the shelf, Sit idle because I loved the art and theme more than the gameplay of a title, or I learned the game with one group of people, and it completely flopped with the other gamers that I see the most often. Owning a game that no one seems to want to play is not saving you any money, limited storage space, or opportunities to play a game.
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